May 18 2013 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Thursday, April 12, 2012
»It’s 2012 and things have changed a lot since my father’s day.
Tel: 020 7798 8000
Prices: from £65 to £152 per night
Treatments range from £15 to £225.
Jon had a Moroccan cleansing ritual for him
Footballers are overpaid prima donnas, folk drink alcopops rather than ale and being a house husband is a viable career path.
Against this background, I am pretty sure it’s fine for a chap to go for a spa weekend.
At least, I certainly assured myself it was as I headed down to the new Moroccan-inspired facility at Dolphin House for a treatment with all the trimmings.
Dolphin House is a development of flats, shops, a fitness centre and now a spa set just north of the river.
Many of the apartments can be rented for just one or two nights, as an alternative to a hotel.
The Pimlico complex is set around a very pleasant private garden, which belies its central location, and staying there had the feel of a trip away, without actually leaving London.
All the facilities are good, rumour has it Gordon Ramsey is a gym member, but the new Moroccan spa really steals the show.
As you descend from the modern reception, lamps, drapes, cushions and exotic scents transport you to the land of the souk.
As a regular visitor to north Africa, I feel qualified to say the experience was pretty authentic – right down to the outfits, the mint tea and the riad-style courtyards.
Assuming that, if I was going to get in touch with my feminine side, I may as well do it properly, I had booked a Moroccan cleansing ritual – fully four hours of spa pleasure including massages, oils, facials and more.
It all started with a trip to the hammam – a steamy room in which you are rinsed, washed, in black soap, then scrubbed to within an inch of your life.
Feeling vitalised, and looking rather pink, I was then led to a peaceful room where I lay on a curved, heated slab, surrounded by muslin and ate dried fruit and drank tea.
After a few minutes of this I was taken to yet another room – this one with soft lighting and relaxing, vaguely Arabic, music wafting from the speakers – to begin my treatment proper.
First up was a full body massage – starting with my back.
When my therapist Sinead asked me what kind of pressure I was after, I put on my deepest possible voice and told her “firm” and asked her to go to town on any knots she found.
This boldness came back to bite me somewhat when she discovered a gnarled muscle in my shoulder and I had to bite the pillow as she went to work on it.
In general, though, the massage was was an unalloyed delight – legs, arms and neck were all rubbed to perfection causing me to lapse into a vegetative state.
Then came my facial – and let me make this quite clear; there is nothing more masculine than a facial.
It was pretty indulgent I have to say – a series of soothing creams were applied, then softly removed before an extremely relaxing scalp massage.
I really hope I wasn’t snoring, or indeed drooling, because I am fairly sure I nodded off and only awoke as the electric bed moved me to a sitting position in readiness for my wet shave.
Sinead seemed quite calm about the whole affair and began to apply a liberal amount of foam.
I have to confess for something of a penchant for having someone do my shaving for me – which I appreciate makes me sound like I am some kind of prince – but this was the first time I had been shaved by a lady.
I came away with a beautifully smooth visage and not a red mark in sight.
Best of all, after this most relaxing of treatments, I just had to float upstairs to my apartment, rather than negotiate a night Tube busy with drunken revellers.
The Spa at Dolphin Square is a cracking fusion of old- world Moroccan relaxation techniques that have been around for donkey’s years set in the heart some modern city living.
And with tennis courts, croquet lawns, gardens and the full gym facilities all in the grounds, a stay there is like a weekend in a country club, despite being no further than Zone One.